Indonesia is set to become the latest nation to ban entry to foreign nationals while Malaysia will immediately quarantine all citizens returning from overseas in the latest piecemeal steps to stem COVID-19’s spread.
In lieu of a systematic, pan-ASEAN plan to contain the coronavirus pandemic now entering its fourth month, individual states continue to ratchet up similar measures out of step with one another.
Meanwhile, Singapore and Hong Kong are seeing new infection clusters emerge in their vibrant nightlife scenes, while Thais heaved a sigh of relief today on confirmation that Bangkok is not banning alcohol amid swirling rumors. Myanmar reported a fatality for the first time.
Hong Kong, Philippines, and Malaysia continue to grapple with equipment shortages including hospital beds and protective gear. The Philippines’ president is also promising aid relief for poor citizens.
More updates from Coconuts newsrooms in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong:
- Indonesia is set to tighten travel restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with all foreign arrivals to be suspended barring few exceptions, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said today.
- President Joko Widodo has been steadfast in his refusal to implement a nationwide or provincial lockdown despite loud calls from experts in the country worried about its perilous situation.
- “The president saw that regional quarantines like in India, Italy caused social chaos. If this is not planned properly, we could end up like those examples, so the president believes that large-scale social restriction is enough in Indonesia,” a presidential spokesman was quoted saying.
- Bali’s provincial government has declared a state of emergency for the island after announcing nine new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, including three who contracted the disease locally.
- The move will enable officials and law enforcement authorities to strengthen their approach in curbing the spread of COVID-19.
- All Malaysians returning from overseas will go straight into 14-day quarantine at dedicated facilities starting Friday, Defense Minister Ismail Sabri announced today.
- Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin attracted backlash today for donning full protective gear for publicity at a wet market as hospitals grapple with a shortage.
- Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 2,766 and the death toll to 43 today. A total of 537 people have recovered. Health Director-General Hisham Abdullah revealed today that most of the patients are aged between 26 to 30 and 56 to 60.
- Chief Executive Carrie Lam today promised to address the shortage of hospital beds in the city by transferring nearly recovered patients elsewhere.
- Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 714 today after 32 new cases were reported. Four had visited a karaoke lounge.
- Dealing with COVID-19 anxiety in a city where reliable information is limited can be stressful. Especially when it involve a sick child. One American expat shared with us his personal experience, here.
- Terror like no other took hold upon rumors Bangkok was banning alcohol sales. The scare was likely provoked by a province in the rural northeast doing just such a thing to keep people from partying during the pandemic. Provincial governors have broad leeway under recently enacted emergency powers.
- Supermarket giant Tesco Lotus has introduced a priority shopping hour for health care workers, people with disabilities and seniors. 8am to 9am.
- Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 1,651 today after another 127 cases were reported.
- President Rodrigo Duterte delivered a speech last night promising to dole out PHP200 billion (US$3.9 billion) in aid to poor households hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Philippine General Hospital is expecting run out of protective equipment in two weeks, according to a spokesperson. Should rising cases require staff to use up to 1,000 personal protective equipment a day, the supply will last only seven days.
- The Philippines has reported 2,084 cases and 88 deaths as of today.
- Singapore will slash road toll charges starting Monday in response to low traffic caused by people staying home during the coronavirus pandemic.
- The defense ministry announced today it will defer all nonessential in-camp trainings for the Singapore Armed Forces as part of new “safe-distancing” measures.
- Confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 879 after 35 new infections were reported last night. Death toll still stands at three. New clusters centering a pub on Circular Road, a migrant worker dormitory in Punggol and a private residential area near Bukit Timah Road have emerged.
- Only a week after acknowledging its first two cases of COVID-19 following weeks of thin denials, Myanmar announced a fatality this morning for the first time. An elderly Yangon man who had traveled abroad for cancer treatment died Tuesday morning at a city hospital.
- It has now confirmed 14 cases in the country, though the actual number is almost sure to be much higher.
Elderly Yangon man is Myanmar’s first reported COVID-19 death
Decongestion Pricing: Singapore roads to go (mostly) free next week
Tidy Singapore turns into tape town to keep people divided (Photos)
Tesco Lotus opens ‘priority hour’ for health workers, elderly shoppers
By the power of YouTube, Thai monks make DIY safety gear
No, Bangkok has no plans to ban booze
Lam promises measures to address hospital bed shortage as Hong Kong reports 60 new COVID-19 cases
Indonesia to suspend all foreign arrivals; existing permit holders and diplomats exempted
Bali gov’t declares state of emergency, restricts access as positive COVID-19 cases almost double
Philippine General Hospital to run out of protective gear in two weeks due to COVID-19 demand
Duterte pledges PHP200 billion to poor affected by COVID-19, says health workers ‘lucky’ to die for country